Santa Barbara Combines Power of Granicus and CivicaCMS for a Citizen-Centric Web Experience
Situated between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on a sunny stretch of Western coastline, the City of Santa Barbara has been aptly nicknamed “The American Riviera.” Its picturesque scenery and Mediterranean climate are home to approximately 90,000 people, and draw about 6.1 million more visitors each year.
The city’s stunning wine country and proximity to Los Angeles have established Santa Barbara as a renowned destination for day-tripping, cruise ships and international travel. Throughout the year, tourists, college students and local residents gather for countless festivals and other events to celebrate Santa Barbara’s rich Spanish heritage as well as the city’s dynamic art and wine culture; including the annually-anticipated Old Spanish Days Fiesta and the vibrant Summer Solstice Parade.
With its ever-changing calendar of events and constant influx of visitors, the City of Santa Barbara required an adaptable web solution that integrated seamlessly with its webcasting and file management platforms.
GRANICUS IN ACTION
The Santa Barbara website hosts agendas, staff reports and meeting schedules for City Council and 38 boards and commissions. Of these offerings, 10 are broadcast on the local City TV cable channel and streamed live with Granicus’ webcasting platform.
On-demand video archives for City Council meetings date back to June 2006, when the City adopted Granicus as the primary video host. These archive videos are tied directly to the meeting minutes, which are produced with Granicus’ Minutes Manager software, so that as a user clicks on an item within the discussed agenda, the corresponding video segment is displayed.
In addition to the live City TV stream, which is available 24/7 embedded on the City’s Civica website, City TV offers a second channel, City TV Online 2, when meeting schedules overlap. This allows visitors to view board meetings that have conflicting time slots. Video viewership exceeds 180 views each day and over 26,000 unique viewers the past year.
INTEGRATING WITH THE CIVICACMS
The City serves more than 80,000 website visitors each month on average. Visitors come to the City’s website for a large number of reasons, among them being information about what is going on in City government.
The City became a CivicaCMS customer in 2012 after a competitive RFP process. Santa Barbara was the first responsive website built on Civica’s content management system, and the website has since been honored with national awards and continues to expand the services offered through custom development provided by the City’s partnership with Civica.
Santa Barbara’s simultaneously diverse and specific list of needs called for a special approach to development, far exceeding simple completion of functional requirements.
“The main thing I was looking for was a partner,” said Santa Barbara Webmaster, Scott Nelson, “Not just somebody who would build us a website.”
The City displays customized Granicus view pages in iframes using the CivicaCMS “HTML and iframe” page layout. This gives site visitors a seamless user experience by integrating Granicus video archives directly into the committee’s agenda pages.
FEEDBACK FROM CITY STAFF
As a highly visible destination community, delivering a seamless web experience across devices is of utmost importance to City staff, including the ability to make changes to the website quickly and simply to better distribute important, relevant content to citizens.
“We’re really using the website to engage in a two-way manner – this is something different from what we used to be, which was just delivering information,” Nelson said. “(Now) we have a lot of ways for people to contact us and ask a lot of questions; so we can engage more, and really provide more of a conversation than just a tell.”
With the addition of the CivicaCMS to the Granicus suite of offerings in 2015, City staff see the deepening integrations between traditional Granicus software offerings and the web content management system as further evidence of how technology can improve citizens’ interactions with government.
“The City is dedicated to providing the finest web services to the constituents of Santa Barbara. Granicus and Civica have empowered the City organization to meet and exceed its goals,” Nelson said. “The City’s partnership with Civica and Granicus over the years has enabled the City of Santa Barbara to provide frequent the site.
“The City is excited by the new relationship between Granicus and Civica and looks forward to a continuing and successful partnership.”